Thailand's princess Vadhana dead

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Bangkok, Jan 2 (UNI) Thailand's Princess Galyani Vadhana, elder sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died early today after battling abdominal cancer for six months.

Thai government has declared 15 days of national mourning in the honour the 84-year-old princess.

During the 15-day official mourning period, the Thai national flag will be flown at half mast in all government offices and schools across the country. Government officials will wear black badges over this period.

Thousands of people, many wearing black, were gathering at the hospital where the Princess died. Thai television channels interrupted scheduled programmes and were showing footage from the Princess' life of cultural and charitable work.

Her death has also put on hold the formation of Thailand's post-coup government. Political parties indefinitely postponed all talks on forming a ruling coalition after the fragile outcome of the December 23, 2007 parliament election.

The funeral would be performed at Bangkok's glittering Grand Palace.

The London-born princess was diagnosed with cancer in mid-June and admitted to hospital, but her condition was not made public until October.

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